The boxing world has reacted with shock to the news of Amir Khan’s fight with Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the WBC middleweight title in Las Vegas on May 7.
Khan, 29, who has not fought since a points victory over Chris Algieri last May, said earlier this year he had a “few options” for his next fight, but no pundits foresaw a catchweight contest at 155lbs with Alvarez.
Former European light-middleweight champion Ryan Rhodes, who lost to Alvarez in 2011, told Sky Sports News HQ: “It’s a big shock. Mayweather outclassed him but I believe Canelo is in the top three pound-for-pound fighters out there. He doesn’t waste any punches, he’s so accurate, he’s so big for the weight.
“He’s one of the biggest stars in Mexico. They absolutely love him and he deserves it. What he’s done in boxing, apart from the Mayweather fight, he’s answered every question.
“It’s a massive step up for Khan. He’s fighting a big puncher, a great boxer, who can counter-punch, who can fight on the inside. He’s got everything that any boxer could wish for.
“I think he just doesn’t want the Kell Brook fight. He’s ducked him for 18 months and I think he’s in deep water for this fight. I don’t get it.”
On Twitter, trainer Shane McGuigan wrote: “Wow big fight delivered… Nobody can question Khan for his opponent choices, he always wants massive names.”
Former world cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli agreed with Rhodes: “Fair play to khan for taking this fight but Canelo is going to be massive on fight night compared to him and it’s a massive risk.”
Two-time world champion Paulie Malignaggi wrote: “This fight getting made is stunning. Lets just say interesting choice of opponent for Khan. Gotta make Canelo a sizable favorite on paper.”
Four-time world champion Adrien Broner was emphatic in what he thinks will happen in Vegas: “Khan will be victorious.”
Meanwhile Tony Bellew praised Khan for taking on the fight, writing: “You have to take your hat off to @AmirKingKhan going in with Canelo! It’s a daunting task an one he deserves massive credit for entertaining.”